By Loch K. Johnson

In 1975, after The manhattan Times released a devastating critique of the CIA, 3 executive panels--the Rockefeller, Church, and Pike Committees--were shaped to envision those allegations extensive. What they uncovered--assassination plots, opened mail, drug experiments opposed to unsuspecting topics (two of whom died from part effects)--shocked the yankee humans and moved Senator Frank Church to name the CIA "a rogue elephant rampaging out of control." essentially, the USA wishes a robust, powerful intelligence attempt, yet simply as basically, this attempt needs to function in the bounds of an open, democratic society.
according to 1000's of interviews with CIA officers, nationwide safeguard specialists, and legislators, in addition to a radical culling of the archival list, America's mystery Power bargains an illuminating and updated photo of the principal Intelligence service provider, stressing the tricky stability among the true wishes of nationwide safety and the safety of person liberties. Loch Johnson, who has studied the workings of the CIA at the beginning hand as a legislative overseer, provides a accomplished exam of the organization and its kinfolk with different American associations, together with Congress and the White condo (he deals rather astute analyses of the CIA's use of newshounds and lecturers to collect intelligence) and he illuminates the CIA's 3 significant missions--intelligence research, counterintelligence, and covert action--providing vibrant descriptions in their function and their pathologies. for instance, he deals a desirable research of the "Seven Sins" of intelligence paintings, revealing how the simplest intelligence reviews might be distorted or missed (in the mid-1960s, the proof opposed to a brief American victory in Vietnam was once dismissed); how covert activities can spin uncontrolled regardless of vast safeguards, as within the Iran-Contra scandal; and the way the CIA has spied on americans in transparent violation of its constitution. additional, he offers a radical overview of legislative efforts to slash those abuses, suggesting a number of vital how one can in attaining the fragile stability among nationwide safeguard and democratic beliefs.
Vividly written and meticulously documented, America's mystery Power attracts the strands of an unlimited quantity of analysis right into a balanced critique of our intelligence networks. it's a paintings that stands by myself in its thoroughness and objectivity, a considerate and sobering portrait of the modern CIA.

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How energetic has the American experiment in intelligence oversight been? How closely has the CIA been monitored, by what means, and to what effect? Has supervision of the CIA curbed abuses, or merely shackled a once imaginative and aggressive protector of these United States against foreign threats? How well has accountability—and, therefore, democracy—worked within this sensitive policy domain? Here are the key questions that guide this inquiry. The answers in these pages suggest three broad conclusions.

Has supervision of the CIA curbed abuses, or merely shackled a once imaginative and aggressive protector of these United States against foreign threats? How well has accountability—and, therefore, democracy—worked within this sensitive policy domain? Here are the key questions that guide this inquiry. The answers in these pages suggest three broad conclusions. First, intelligence oversight has varied in intensity over the years, from benign neglect in its earliest stages (1947—74) to a marked assertiveness in the post-Watergate, post-Vietnam War period when Congress began to demand a restoration of its authority across the board.

A further blurring of distinctions has occurred with attempts by the Reagan administration to "privatize" covert action, that is, to raise funds for this option outside the government's established appropriations process—from foreign nations, including Brunei and South Africa, among others, and from wealthy private citizens, like the owner of the Coors brewery in Colorado (see chap. 6). S. government channels but with the knowledge and encouragement of the president and the NSC staff. S. intelligence agencies; and, no doubt, the overwhelming majority of the covert actions implemented by the United States are of this sort—in excess of 95 percent of the total number, according to those interviewed for this book, with almost all of these operations conceived of and carried out by the CIA.

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